Deserved or not, it is the fate of George Armstrong Custer to be best remembered for his monumental failure, the entirely avoidable slaughter of himself and more than 200 members of his regiment at the Little Big Horn. Of course, there is much more to Custer’s career and character, much of it laudable. Robbins, currently at the American Foreign Policy Council, is clearly out to balance the scales in this well-done project. Using a straight chronological approach, Robbins views the youthful Custer as high-spirited, friendly, and, surprisingly, studious. As a cadet at West Point, Custer’s record was dismal, but Robbins sees youthful exuberance rather than laziness or lack of self-control. Custer’s record during the Civil War was remarkable, both for his courage and the success of his aggressive cavalry maneuvers and charges. Yet, as Robbins point out, his aggressive moves could also be viewed as dangerously and unnecessarily reckless. There was clearly a tendency to be impatient and dismissive of conventional military wisdom in his tactics. Contrary to many recent historians, Robbins finds Custer’s record as an Indian fighter to be admirable, but he acknowledges that his boldness and thirst for glory finally caught up with him at the Little Big Horn. This is a useful revisionist account of Custer’s life. --Jay Freeman
"Robbins delivers a book about as free of cliché arguments as one can get. He avoids the cynicism and sneering that too often attend his subject to give a full, sympathetic, yet warts-and-all portrait of the man we've long known: last in his West Point class, impetuous, cocky, brave, foolish, insubordinate, violent, a born warrior who struggled to survive in peacetime, and, of course, the controversial chump of Little Big Horn." -- Publisher's Weekly
"[Robbins] avoids the cynicism and sneering that too often attend his subject to give a full, sympathetic, yet warts-and-all portrait of the man we've long known: last in his West Point class, impetuous, cocky, brave, foolish, insubordinate, violent, a born warrior...." Publisher's Weekly
"James Robbins's The Real Custer: From Boy General to Tragic Hero is a well-written four-hundred-page epic adventure that details the highs and lows of one of America’s most controversial figures. His treatment of Custer is fair and even handed. The most impressive aspect of the volume is the 'Boy General's' cadet years and his fearless exploits during the Civil War. For the casual reader who desires a truly dedicated exploration of Custer the man and soldier placed in the context of his timethis is the real thing."
Michael Donahue, author of Drawing Battle Lines: The Map Testimony of Custer's Last Fight, historical interpreter at Little Bighorn Battlefield National Monument, and chairman of the Department of Visual Arts at Temple College
"Robbins has succeeded brilliantly in presenting The Real Custer, making vivid his romantic flair, joie de vivre, and battlefield mastery without being blind to his flaws."
John Pafford, author of The Forgotten Conservative
"Robbins has created a scintillating, exciting narrative about the unique exploits of America's Boy General. He weaves a plethora of original source materials into a compelling, flowing tale of derring-do. The fast pace of the book matches the fast pace of Custer's Civil War involvement at Bull Run, the Peninsula, Gettysburg, the Shenandoah Valley, Five Forks, and Appomattox. Custer was everywhere in the eastern theater, and Robbins captures the nature and spirit of his adventures there and in the Indian wars that followed."
Edward H. Bonekemper III, book review editor for Civil War News and author of Grant and Lee: Victorious American and Vanquished Virginian